Peter Quenneville extended his goal-scoring streak to five games, Tyler Coulter scored twice, and Tyler Parks made 30 saves to lead the Rapid City Rush to a 3-2 win over the Tulsa Oilers on Saturday night. The win maintains the Rush’s status as the last undefeated team on home ice in the ECHL and ties a franchise record for most consecutive wins on home ice at eight. Additionally, it vaults the team into a three-way tie with Allen and South Carolina for first place in the league.
Both teams provided a tally in the opening frame and left the first 20 minutes deadlocked at 1-1. On the first Rush power play of the game, Tyler Coulter came in close range of the Oilers net and finished with a backhand past Oilers goalie Olle Eriksson Ek, giving the Rush a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the contest (Peter Quenneville and Giovanni Fiore assisted). Following the power play goal, Ryan Tesink was ejected for a match penalty illegal check to the head, putting the Rush on a five-minute major power play. The Oilers killed it off, and used that momentum to square the game. With 3:33 left in the first, the Oilers came down the ice on an odd-man rush, and Charlie Sampair flipped the puck to the slot from the wing. Danny Moynihan drove the middle lane and deflected the puck past Rush net-minder Tyler Parks, tying the game at 1-1 (Sampair and Robby Jackson assisted).
Peter Quenneville came into this series finale on an active four-game goal-scoring streak, and extended it to a fifth game to put the Rush back on top early in the second. With 5:24 played in the period, Quenneville rifled a shot from the near faceoff circle over the shoulder of Eriksson Ek, breaking the deadlock and giving the Rush a 2-1 lead (Giovanni Fiore and Brandon Fehd assisted). In the final minutes of the second, the Oilers committed an egregious turnover in their slot area to Brennan Saulnier, who had an uncontested lane to waltz in on net. Instead of shooting, Saulnier deferred to Tyler Coulter with a no-look backhand pass, and Coulter finished full-bore with a laser by Eriksson Ek to extend the lead to 3-1 with 5:36 remaining in the second (Saulnier had the lone assist).
Tulsa came within striking distance in the third period in the midst of four-on-four hockey, but that’s as close as the Oilers would get to the Rush. With 15:31 left in the game, Steven Ruggiero came below the near faceoff circle and ripped off a snipe over Parks’ shoulder, bringing Tulsa within one at 3-2 (Cam Knight and Danny Moynihan assisted). Time running out, Eriksson Ek was pulled from the Oilers net for an extra skater, but a late high-sticking penalty to Tulsa Captain Adam Pleskach negated the threat of a comeback with the extra-attacker. The Rush hung on for a 3-2 win, their seventh victory against Tulsa in eight meetings, and eight consecutive wins on home ice.
Tyler Parks, making his first start since a November 8th shootout win against Idaho, earned the victory with 30 saves on 32 shots (5-1-2-0). The win maintains the Rush’s status as the last undefeated team on home ice in the ECHL, and coupled with an Allen overtime loss and South Carolina win, puts them in a three-way tie for first in the ECHL.